How many times have you rushed out the door without turning off and unplugging your hair straightener?
This has happened to me more than I’d like to admit. If I could show you the number of burn marks on my bathroom counter, you’d be horrified.
I was very oblivious to the notion of heat and fire but now that I’m surrounded by so many fire prevention and safety professionals, I know better. I know that I could’ve burnt my house down.
Truth is hair straighteners – or any styling tool for that matter – can pose a fire risk.
According to Gillian Boyd, a Public Education Officer, with Caledon Fire & Emergency Services, “anything that is hot can potentially cause a fire. The heat from the straighteners left on top of combustibles such as counter tops, towels, clothes, and bedding for example, can cause a fire.”
Let’s go back to high school for a minute, fire is the chemical reaction between oxygen and a combustible substance like wood, clothing or blankets. Obviously wood, in the presence of oxygen, doesn’t just spontaneously catch on fire, there needs to be heat to fuel the reaction.
Straighteners can act as that catalyst.
Some of these styling tools can reach temperatures up to 450°F., so leaving your hot hair straightener on that wicker chair, on your wooden shelf or on the towel on your bed is a no-no.
A woman in the UK learnt this the hard way after forgetting her straightener on her bedroom floor.
Like all electrical appliances, it’s important to unplug these devices when not in use.
Gillian advises that “you shouldn’t store your straightener until it is completely cooled down,” she also suggests that users refrain from leaving the cords dangling, especially around children. “Wrap the cords up nicely so no-one can pull them down and hurt themselves,” she says.
Gillian recalls a story of a young boy, in Caledon, who turned on a curling iron, a few years ago, and started a fire in his home.
And how many times have you burned your scalp, face or hands after accidentally hitting your skin against those scolding-hot ceramic plates? The high temperatures can cause serious burns.
I know we’re all guilty of it, but its important to get into the habit of remembering to turn off your styling tools. I’ve made a little morning mantra for myself, ‘cellphone, wallet, keys, straightener.’
Moral of the story? Remember to turn off your hair straighteners because it only takes one time for tragedy to spark.